I’m a Xennial, (to find out if you are a Xennial, click on the link and take the quiz). It’s the generation between Millennial and Generation X. I remember walking from the Junior High, through the High School hallway to the typing class at the other end of the building. (Our school was small) I still remember the smell of that side of the old, musty building. The sound of the typewriters clicking and the white out still cause me to cringe. Oh, I hated white out. I hated how it looked on the paper and when you tried to put the next letter in the space, it was never JUST right. So the word looked funny because it would be slightly higher.
Then I went to college and I remember someone saying, “Hey, do you have an email?” What is that? The astonishment. I loved to email. I loved computers. I hated those floppy disks and the viruses that would constantly plaque you at the computer lab. Yes, that’s right, no one owned their own computer. Except the elite few that had money to pay for an expensive desktop. I’ll never forget the sound of dial up when I sat at my dad’s computer. We use to read books or flip through magazine’s while we waited for pages to load. Then the AGONY when it would disconnect because it timed out and you’d have to start all over again. Ah, the memories.
My generation grew up on the old “stuff”, typewriters, rotary phones, and TV with antennas, but now we live in a day with fast speed internet, Smart Phones, and technology in our watches. We have embraced this new age. Trust us, we know what is was like and we don’t want to go back there. With technology comes added complications.
Banking has certainly changed. I remember going to the bank with my Grandma and getting a sucker because we walked in and talked to a teller. My favorite suckers were the root beer or the cherry ones. Today, I drive up to the machine, touch the screen, up pops a teller that is at a central location. I type in my account number, they look to see that the picture on file is me and we proceed to do the transaction. There are no suckers for my children. I like the fact that I don’t have to unload 3 kids under the age of 5 out of their car seats and reign them in while we stand in line, but I mourn for the personal connection that has been lost.
Remember paying in cash or writing down your checks in a check register? That’s becoming a thing of the past too. Credit cards, automatic transfers, debit cards, bill pay through your bank, and phone payments. It really irritates me when I get a bill that I have to write a check and send it in the mail. I think, “Ugh, get with the times people.” Personally, I prefer signing up for automatic transfers for payments. That way I never forget to pay a bill. I just check my credit card on a regular basis and then pay it off monthly.
Yesterday I was on a webinar that focused on Millennials and their money habits. I’m not sure why I was surprised. Why have parents not taught their children about money? Why don’t the schools teach it as a necessity like math or science instead of an elective? As the speaker was discussing the problems that Millennials have, I realized that my generation also had many of the same problems.
- We like to buy expensive, shiny products from phones to cars.
- We don’t track our expenses, we go online to check our balances.
- We don’t save for purchases, we’d rather buy everything now and not think about the debt until later.
- We use a credit card as our emergency instead of having savings as an emergency.
- We have lots of debt. Student loans, credit cards, mortgage, car loans, PayDay loans. You name it, we’ve got it. (Here’s some interesting research the Chattanooga Mayors Council for Women did on PayDay lending,) I might need to do another blog just on their research, it’s really eye opening.
About half of people with bad credit sometimes need credit cards to pay for basic necessities.
Just over half of the people surveyed needed credit for groceries, gas or other household necessities at least once in the last year.
We have embraced technology so much that it has begun to hurt us financially. You could be like these extremely successful business people and avoid certain technology, but that might be going a bit too far for Xennials and Millennials.
So, here’s my advice to Xennials and Millennials(if you want to listen to me).
- Set up automatic savings. When you paycheck gets directly deposited into your checking, set up automatic transfers to your sub-accounts. Treat savings like a bill. I have our IRA money come out of the account every month on the 21st. The money I save for our Schwab account comes out every month on the 2nd. I don’t have to think about it. Just set it up and forget it.
- Keep track of your expenses. You can use online tools or apps like Power Pay, Mint.com, or you can check out Forbes’ list of apps for other budget trackers.
- Shop around for credit cards, loans, student loans. You can read more about credit cards for people with bad credit with U.S. News & World Report. Don’t accept the first loan offer that comes your way.
- Enjoy the now, but think about the future before you buy that next fancy thing. Simplicity is what brings you happiness.
- Use it up or Do with out. Seriously, I think my mom has said this so many times, she’s probably sick of saying it.
- Don’t keep up with the guy from your office that has the next best object. You don’t know how much debt he has or how on the edge of disaster he really is.
- Research, Research, Research. Use your Google search tools or Bing if that’s your thing. I prefer Google, but that’s just me. Compare loan benefits, savings rates, and investment options. There are some great online banks that offer better saving’s rates than your local bank. Check out NerdWallets comprehensive list of online high yield savings accounts.
- Prepare for tomorrow by not spending every dime you have today. Again, happiness doesn’t come from things. You’ll enjoy life more later if you save some for your future.
- Use technology for your advantage and not your demise. It’s so easy to buy things online. Too easy. Think before you click.
- Don’t spend more than you make. You’ll thank me later.
Let’s go conquer our financial future one click at a time. We ARE a savvy generation, heck, we learned how to type on typewriters and we can swipe left. Let’s go show them how it’s done.